Let's not have a repeat of Green Book.
In most regards, the 2020 Oscars are already a disappointment.
In a year full of cinematic diversity, from Lulu Wang's brilliant The Farewell and Greta Gerwig's revitalization of Little Women to Lupita Nyong'o's haunting turn in Us, the major category Oscar nominations are all too blatantly white and male.
Across all four Best Actor/Actress categories, 20 nominations in total, only one POC was named––Cynthia Erivo for her leading role in the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet. Apparently Awkwafina's Golden Globe-winning performance of a Chinese-American woman coping with a looming familial death from two conflicting cultural perspectives in The Farewell was not worthy of a spot over Charlize Theron playing former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
The Best Director nominations are also, once again, entirely male, with Greta Gerwig getting categorically snubbed, despite Little Women receiving nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. But at least that's better than the Oscar's treatment of Lulu Wang, who got snubbed entirely. Todd Phillips' Joker, on the other hand, received 11 nominations, more than any other movie this year, which says pretty much everything anyone needs to know about the 2020 Oscars… Or at least it would, if not for Parasite's Best Picture nomination.
In the entire history of the Oscars, only six foreign language films have been nominated for both Best International Film (formerly "Best Foreign-Language Film") and Best Picture. All of them have won the International category, but none have ever taken home the grand prize. After all, for an International Film to win Best Picture, that would require the Academy's overwhelmingly white male voting body (as of 2018, out of 8,000 members, 84% are white and 69% are male) to agree that a movie made by a POC outside of Hollywood is better than anything produced from within (and, more importantly, to actually read subtitles).
A lot of people were surprised by the 2019 Oscars when Green Book––a movie about race relations from the perspective of a white director, white writer, and white protagonist––beat Roma, Alfonso Cuaron's intimate portrayal of a poor Mexican housekeeper. In retrospect, the Academy's choice makes sense. Roma feels like an art film, whereas Green Book practically shouts, "It's okay, white people, we solved racism through friendship!" Considering the Academy's demographic, it was the obvious choice.
But that was 2019, and this is 2020. If the Oscars hope to maintain any glimmer of relevance in the new decade beyond just another masturbatory awards show where Hollywood elites pay lip service to diversity while endlessly patting white men on the back, Parasite needs to win Best Picture.
For one, Parasite absolutely deserves it. Bong Joon-ho's darkly comedic thriller about South Korea's class divide is unique, impactful, and more timely than any other film this year. Its themes surrounding ambition, desperation, loss, and social immobility both feel specific to South Korea, and maintain a universality that connects with audiences around the world. Joon-ho's direction and writing (he was also nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) were spot on, approaching all of its characters with distinct empathy while subjecting them to some of the most brutal, unpredictable twists of any thriller in recent years. The acting was phenomenal too, and it's worth noting that Song Kang-ho's omission from the Best Lead Actor category displays a clear failure on the Academy's part to recognize the humanity of Asian actors and characters.
Still, Parasite seems better poised to win Best Picture than any international film in years past. That's not to knock any of the international Best Picture nominees that came before it, but rather to comment on the modern era. People are more globally connected than ever, thanks to the Internet, and Parasite falls into an overwhelmingly popular, accessible genre and encompasses universally appealing themes. In other words, the only barrier to entry is the subtitles.
It's time for Hollywood to recognize that as the world becomes more internationally connected, white western media can no longer be considered the end-all and be-all of cultural influence. Bong Joon-ho is living proof that some of the most important, talented artistic voices of our era are not white, American men and that diversity is a gift to creativity.
- Here Are the Very White Male Oscar Nominees - Popdust ›
- Golden Globes 2020 Nominations: 5 Surprises And 5 Snubs - Popdust ›
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- 92nd OSCARS SHORTLISTS | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion ... ›
- Oscars: Can 'Parasite' Break the Best Picture Tradition? | Hollywood ... ›
- Oscar nominations: 'Parasite' first-ever Korean best picture nominee ... ›
- The 2020 Oscar Will Go to One of These Films | Fortune ›
- 2020 Oscar Nominations List: 'Joker,' 'Parasite' | IndieWire ›
- Will the South Korean Film Parasite Make History at Oscars 2020 ... ›
- 'Joker,' '1917,' 'Parasite' Lead 2020 Oscar Nominations - Rolling Stone ›
- Parasite: The cast deserves Oscars — and didn't get nominated - Vox ›
Current owner Jeff Lowe claims there are bodies, including "a young American Indian boy," buried on the property
It was recently reported that Carole Baskin had been awarded the property of the Tiger King Zoo—formerly the G.W. Zoo—in Wynnewood, Oklahoma after a judgment found in her favor.
As fans of the Netflix docuseries Tiger King will know, her long-standing legal feud with Joe Exotic (AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage, né Shreibvogel) over his violation of the Big Cat Rescue trademark resulted in a million dollar settlement in her favor. But for the most part Exotic managed to dodge paying Baskin through a series of illegal property transfers that temporarily protected his animal park from seizure.
Now that Exotic is in prison for attempting to have Baskin murdered—along with illegal animal trafficking and several violations of the Endangered Species Act—a judge has finally ruled that the park is hers, and she will be taking over ownership of the 16-acre property later this year. But Jeff Lowe—the park's current owner and the personification of a mid-life crisis—insists that there are no hard feelings, saying, "She deserves this property."
- Is Donald Trump Going to Pardon Joe Exotic? - Popdust ›
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The singers magnetic hit, which debuted at No. 1 on this day in 1967, still fiercely resonates
On this day in 1967, Aretha Franklin's "Respect" debuted at No.1 on the U.S. charts. The Otis Redding re-imagining would become the definitive song of the 1960's Civil Rights and Feminist Movements.
At just 24-years-old, the soon-to-be Queen of Soul took a song that was a desperate plea for companionship and transformed it into a cutthroat demand for equality. "Come to me for I'm begging, come to me for I'm begging, darling," Redding howls in his version. "Your kisses, sweeter than honey," Franklin croons on her re-imagining almost in direct response. "And guess what? So is my money." When Franklin's version continued to grow in popularity, Redding felt both emasculated and proud. "The next song is a song that a girl took away from me. A good friend of mine." Redding said playfully before diving into his rendition during his 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.